According to The Korea Herald report, investigative authorities of South Korea and the United States have teamed up to crack down on a 2017 crypto scam and help victims recover some of their losses, prosecutors in Seoul said Thursday. The Supreme Prosecutors Office (SPO) revealed that it had arrested two South Korean suspects behind the cyber fraud. South Korea is among the few countries that actively regulate the crypto industry.
The SPO and the FBI then teamed up to seize crypto assets.
The SPO also confirmed one Japanese suspect’s identity based on intelligence provided by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2018. The SPO and the FBI then teamed up to seize crypto assets from one of the Korean suspects and have so far paid about 140 million won ($118,000) in restitution to some fraud victims. The three suspects were accused of hacking IDs and passwords from visitors to a US-based phishing site disguised as a Ripple-related site for seven months from June 2017 and stealing 900 million won from 64 victims.
Some of the stolen cryptocurrencies are already seized.
Cybercriminals behind the crypto scam were arrested after the FBI transferred intelligence and data to the SPO, which then instructed the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors Office to start an investigation. Two Korean scammers were sentenced to 10 months in prison and one year in prison suspended for two years, respectively. Despite the bust of suspects, the victims’ losses were not recovered until March 2019, when the FBI had discovered some cryptocurrency hidden by one Korean scammer in a US crypto exchange and succeeded in freezing and confiscating the money.